From the Archives: Peter Robertson of RP’s Pasta on Managing Growth and Changing with the Consumer

This week we are revisiting a podcast from our archives: #43 with Peter Robertson, founder of RP’s Pasta and co-founder of Tribe 9 Foods. Peter recently retired from over 25 years of creating fresh pasta for the masses. In the words of FFI Founder, Tera Johnson, Peter is “definitely a pioneer [who has] been so generous with their time and expertise in the [entrepreneurial and food] community.”

Peter’s story and words of wisdom for growing RP’s Pasta into Tribe 9 Foods are insightful and valuable for any entrepreneur. Some key things Peter touches on include:

  • How many products should I have? There was a point at which RP’s Pasta had 75 retail skus and reduce their offering to 14.
  • When should I bring in outside investment? Though RPs said no for while it was clear when the time was right to merge with two other brands to allow the company to grow.
  • How should I think about growth? Investing in higher yield equipment brings in the need to finance that equipment. This means often you are not thinking about doubling production, it often becomes necessary to consider a 4x or 8x increase in production.
  • When should I consider a brand makeover? For a while, the brand “RP’s Pasta”, taken from a nickname for its founder, was personal and appropriate. But once they committed to mass retail and becoming a national brand, rebranding for mass appeal became relevant. With that, Taste Republic was launched.

Learn more about How Tribe 9 Foods Balances Economies of Scale with a Changing Marketplace on EA #33 Tribe 9 Foods and how Yumbutter grew into a National Nut and Seed Butter Brand on #1.

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